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Flutterby- Scrap Quilt Musings

Years ago, my husband played a video game called Rock Band. One song he loved playing was called “I’m not Insane”. For some unfathomable reason, that song has stuck in my head a lot this past week while working on a new little quilt.  So it all started with a Jen Kingwell design.  She has a pattern called Flutterby in her book, Quilt Lovely, and I decided to make it. Here’s the quilt up on my design wall.  It might just be my favorite quilt ever. I love the simplicity of the blocks, and the dynamic effect the half-square rectangles create. Someone on IG commented that they looked like tie fighters, so now I like it even better.

Then I put this quilt aside for a while to work on the Lecien quilts for Spring Market.  More on those soon.

Playing with ombre fabric

To help motivate myself to finish the Lecien quilts, I bought a half-yard ombre bundle during a Craftsy sale.

I’m going to use this bundle for an upcoming pattern.  The other night, I cut all the ombres into strips for that project. Aren’t they pretty?!?

Using every scrap

Then I started cutting kites from the strips, and I realized that the little scrap triangle from the kites (see on the top left corner?) would make a fun tiny half-rectangle triangle.


Which of course, made me think of the flutterby quilt. And I started thinking, hey, I could make a tiny flutterby quilt. . ..


The math was a bit dicey, because the triangles aren’t exactly the right proportion. So I started cutting, and making notes. . . .

And before too long, had a tiny little block.

Soon it was joined by three friends.

Now I have half the planned tiny quilt all cut out and ready to sew.  Did I mention all the patches fit in a snack size ziplock bag?

I think the moral of this story is never impulse buy fabric to motivate yourself to finish a project.  It just leads to a positive feedback loop. 🙂 How do you motivate yourself to finish projects? Are you like me in that you are way more enthralled by the fun of starting a project than finishing one?

Now, I need to get back to the Lecien quilts. . .


Happy Stitching!


Book Review- Jo’s Little Favorites III

If you’re following me on IG and FB, you know I’ve been completely sidetracked by tiny quilts lately.  It all started when I jokingly asked if anyone knew what I should do with my tiny triangle scraps leftover from cutting blocks for the Lecien quilts, and someone suggested making crumb blocks.  And now I look at every tiny scrap to see what I can do with it.  So yesterday, when I got a review copy of Jo’s Little Favorites III, I was immediately intrigued, and read through the book from cover to cover.

Jo's Little Favorites III book cover

Darling tiny quilts from the book

While these aren’t my favorite colors for quilts, I can totally imagine them made up in brights.  Here are some of my favorites from the book.  I think I can make all three of these simply from the scraps sitting on my cutting table at the moment! I love what she says about quilting, “If you want to make them all, make them small!” This one’s called Tic-Tac-Toe:

Jo's Little Favorites III, "Tic-Tac-Toe" quilt


This one is Bloom:

Jo's Little Favorites III- Bloom quilt

And finally, my absolute favorite, Star Shine:

Jo's Little Favorites III- Starshine Quilt


Pictures above by Brent Kane and used with permission from Martingale.

If you love antiques and pretty settings, you will love all the photographs in this book.  It’s like walking through your favorite curated antique shop.  I love the little wooden cookie molds!

And the tips at the back of the book for working with small quilts are wonderful.  I already tested out her tip for helping seam intersections lay flat, and my tiny pinwheels look fabuolous!

some of my little quilt projects

Here are the blocks (lower portion of picture), being used in one of my new designs.  I’m sewing the white to the color using a stitch-and-flip technique, which means lots of little colored and white triangles leftover.  They make precious little pinwheels.  Each set of blocks for my quilt yields 4 bonus pinwheel blocks!


Now I’m all ready to sew the bitty pinwheels together.  Y’all.  These are going to finish at 3/4” on a side!  They are so stinkin’ cute!


Here they are from the back, with Jo’s genius pressing tip applied.

This book includes Jeanna Kimball’s back-basting technique for applique.  I follow Jeanna on IG, and her flawless applique fascinates me.  I cannot wait to try out the technique as Jo describes it.  Once I finish up some of these other projects!

Here’s a little peek at the scrap hexagon panel, mentioned in my previous blog post.

Cutting these hexies from bigger scraps yielded the tiny triangles mentioned above.  I think I’ve sewn 130 of the little triangles together, and that whole piece fits on my hand.  Not sure what it’s going to be just yet, but I love the intensity of the colors.

So, I’m curious- do you throw away scraps, or make use of every little tiny bit?

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Happy Stitching!


Akemi Shibata- Quilted Bags and Gifts

We are overdue for a Japanese Quilting Study Group adventure! I recently learned of a new-to-me Japanese quilter, Akemi Shibata, and got her book, Quilted Bags and Gifts. It’s a delightful book.

I LOVE how she pairs taupe fabrics with little pops of saturated color. It’s a gorgeous combination. She uses lots of red and turquoise especially. There are 36 projects in this book, each one cuter than the last.


And she features hexagons in so many of her projects. In the very first project description of the book, she says “In fact, I love English paper piecing hexagons so much, that I often forget to stop and eat lunch while in the midst of sewing these cute little shapes together.” Woman after my own heart!


I am working on several quilts with Lecien Fabrics for Spring Market (so stay tuned, that means some super-cool FREE patterns for you!), and I wanted to do something special with the leftover scraps.

So many fun choices, but I decided to make Akemi Shibata’s Two Way Hexagon Purse.


Once I had the pattern chosen, I couldn’t wait to start prepping hexies. Look how well the hexies fit onto the triangle scraps!! She uses EPP for this project, but I’m going to hand-piece them instead.

So excited to see how this starts that I forgot to eat breakfast this morning. .. . marking hexies and sipping coffee. My happy place.

If you’d like to follow my progress, please check out my instagram feed, I’ll be posting lots more there.



Now I’m ready to start sewing hexies together.  Even though it has an inset zipper, the pattern has lots and lots of diagrams and it looks achievable. If it works, I think I’ve got the fabric to make two! Now I’m off to find coordinating fabrics for the rest of the purse, and hardware.  Do you have a go-to source for purse supplies? Please share in the comments, I’d love to know!

Happy Stitching!

2018 Patchwork Planner & Calendar Review

Happy February! Anyone else wondering how January has already passed?! Today I wanted to share with you a little about a lovely planner just for quilters! It’s called the 2018 Patchwork Planner & Calendar, created by Becky Jorgensen of Patchwork Posse.

Just in case you don’t have time to read this whole post, I’ll tell you the best thing about the 2018 Patchwork Planner & Calendar up front: it has everything you need to keep up with your projects, without being overwhelming or including lots of random pages you won’t ever use.

Every January I buy a planner with the intention of getting organized. Big ones, small ones, expensive ones, cheap ones.  They all have on thing in common: I fill out the pages for January, and the rest of the book stays blank. Why? I think I get bogged down in the idea that I have to write on every page, whether it helps me out or not. So I love the streamlined, achievable feel of this planner. February is already filled out, and I’m feeling encouraged instead of stressed.

Let me show you what I mean. First up, you get a page to check out the whole year in one glance. Between projects for Market, a yearlong swap, and my APQ Resolution goals, I already have a lot of my year planned out.  This helps me stay on track to keep up all year.


Next, check out the monthly pages. I love the project tracker.  I usually end up hand writing something like this for every project, losing it, and rewriting it several times throughout the year. Now I just have to fill it in once! I love checking off boxes as I complete each step of a project. It’s all about “degrees of doneness”, and seeing those checks reminds me that I’m accomplishing something, even when the project as a whole seems endless.

And now, perhaps my favorite page in the whole calendar. A reference page! Y’all. It’s awesome. I don’t know how many times in a year I google “standard quilt sizes”, but it’s in the triple digits. Same for precut sizes. You’d think by now, I’d have these memorized, but I’m constantly trying to remember yardage dimensions. And I’m typically pattern drafting on the go, playing with an idea while waiting to pick up my kids, and I don’t often have easy access to google.  I have a suspicion that this page of the planner will be dog-eared and ragged by the end of the year. But it looks pretty now, doesn’t it?

Finally, I wanted to show you the swaps pages. Have you ever done an Instagram swap?  They’re LOADS of fun, and you meet such delightful people.  I did two last year, and am looking forward to participating in a few again this year. But often, the swap rules and information are on a specific IG post, or a direct message. Finding the information when you need it can be tedious. Now I have a place to write it all down as I receive it, and can keep up with due dates, addresses, and hashtags all in one easy spot.


It’s like Becky’s a quilting mind-reader. Or perhaps after managing a 700 member quilting group for years, she’s just really in-tune with quilters.


And she’s currently offering  a special pdf download bonus to go along with her 2018 Patchwork Planner & Calendar. I would encourage you to pick one up, it’s not to late to plan for a great year of quilting!!


Happy Stitching!







PS- And yes, I should add a disclaimer that Becky sent me a copy of the planner so I could review it for you. Would I buy one on my own? In a heartbeat. It’s a terrific resource, and significantly more affordable than other planners on the market. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know I don’t do paid advertisements, affiliate links, or anything else to undermine the content here.  If I share a product, it’s because I think it’s terrific, and I would recommend it to my friends and family face-to-face.




Giveaway Winner and Valentine Fun

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway last week. According to random.org, the lucky number was 7. . . Tu-Na quilts!!  Congratulations!! (And may I recommend that you click that link and visit her delightful blog? I was intrigued by her name. . . . Lovely work and fun posts!!) Karen, please check your e-mail so I can send your book!

Since you guys have me all heart-eyes with your kind comments, I thought I would do a little Valentine’s Day round-up of cute heart stuff you can find around The Caffeinated Quilter. Some are free tutes, some are patterns from my shop. All come with me just an e-mail away if you need help making them! It’s fun and a little nostalgic looking back through tutorials. I find it hard to believe I started this blog nearly seven years ago!  So please join me in a little reminiscing.  And if you’ve made any of these projects, send me a picture!

Free  valentine Projects







Hugs and Kisses Coasters– a fun, easy little tutorial to make your own X’s and O’s in time for Valentine’s Day. Perfect for someone just learning EPP.







Sweet Strawberry Pincushion– no, really, it is a heart!  Uses the Clover heart-shaped yo-yo maker.


Patterns for purchase










Loverly quilt-a-long– A multi-week blog series to help walk you through the Loverly table runner in my book Adventures in Hexagons.


Looking for a cute and quick EPP project? Check out my sweet little Conversation Pieces pattern.

A post shared by Emily Breclaw (@thecaffeinatedquilter) on

Conversation Pieces– one of my first, and still favorite EPP patterns. Equally adorable in reds and whites, as my dear friend Elizabeth proved.

Heart of the Prairie










Heart of the Prairie– a lap-sized quilt pattern using simple rail fence blocks as a backdrop for big hearts. Quick to piece!


Happy Stitching, my friends!!

Hexagonal Tilings and Patterns: Book Review

Today I want to share with you a fun book that you probably won’t find in quilt stores (yet!). Several months ago, Richard Hollos contacted me after he saw my book, Adventures in Hexagons, at his local library. He asked if I’d be interested in reviewing his book, Hexagonal Tilings and Patterns. Intrigued, I said I’d be delighted to, and I’m glad I did.


Hexagonal Tilings and Patterns book with a cup of coffee










This book shows lots of tessellating hexagon patterns.  Each of the 132 pages has a unique hexagonal tiling design on it. Some of them would make great quilts!

inside picture of Hexagonal Tilings and Patterns, showing a hexagon flower design










Others are very complex,  or have open-ended shapes that wouldn’t work so well for quilts. But they’re inspiring, nonetheless.

inside image of Hexagonal Tilings and Patterns showing a star design










And a feature of the book that I thought was pretty clever is the creative license agreement in the front of the book.The authors give you permission to use the hexagonal tilings in any way you want to (including quilt designs!) so long as you reference them as the tiling source. I may take them up on this, several of their designs look like fabulous quilts.

They also gave me a second copy of the book to share with one of you! Leave a comment below for your chance to win. (I apologize for the weirdness of my wordpress theme.  If you can’t see the comment box, scroll back to the top of the page, click on the title of this post, and then scroll back down, where the comment box has magically appeared.) For an extra chance to win, head over to Instagram and follow me there. . .Then come back and leave another comment telling me you’re following on IG. I’ll select a winner randomly next Thursday, January 26, and post the winner’s name on my next blog post.

Happy Stitching!

Book Review: Cotton and Indigo From Japan

Happy New Year! As you may have seen on my Instagram, I have been spending a lot of my time lately snuggled under extra blankets, hot drink and good book in hand.  One of my favorites has been Teresa Duryea Wong’s new book, Cotton and Indigo from Japan.










It’s a book to savor. The photography is gorgeous, the stories and information are fascinating. . . . When Teresa’s first book came out, I read it cover-to-cover in one sitting.  This one I made myself spread out over a couple of days so I could enjoy it a little longer. If you know anyone who loves all things Japanese, they will enjoy this book.  While the book talks quite a bit about quilting, it’s also a wonderful insight into many intriguing aspects of Japanese culture.

I also attended one of Teresa’s lectures about the book last fall.  I’d never been to a guild meeting before! At the time, I was wishing I had brought pen and paper to take notes on her lecture, but all the wonderful information is in the book too. Check out her website for a lecture near you!








She also brought an amazing quilt to share.








Teresa made it from her own collection of lovely indigos and Japanese fabrics, and she hand stitched it in the chiku-chiku style. (What is chiku-chiku? Check out the book to find out! Me, I just might have to learn the technique, because chiku-chiku is loads of fun to say!)








What’s on your reading list right now?

Happy Stitching!


Christmas Round-Up

I hope you and your loved ones are enjoying a lovely holiday!  My kids finished up school today, so I’m taking a much-needed break, and dedicating the next week to baking, decorating, and crafting with my kids and family.  I’ll be back to regular blog posts in January. Until then, please enjoy this round-up of tutorials and patterns for Christmas celebrations, drawn from my past 6 and a half years of blogging!

Quick Craft Tutorials

Perfect for last-minute gifts!

Bowl Cozy Tutorial









Hugs and Kisses Coasters

Mug Rug from Sizzix Big Shot Scraps

Kanzashi Flower Candle Coaster

Christmas Quilt Patterns

Buy now, get Christmas fabric on sale next week, and start quilting for a finish by 2018!

Tumbling Snowflakes









Colossal Peppermints



Peppermints and Snowflakes 











Christmas Whirlwind

My own Coconut Bundt Cake








Wishing you the very best of this Christmas season.  I’m so grateful that YOU are a part of my quilting journey!!

Happy Stitching!

Quilt Market 2017 Yoko Saito’s Schoolhouse Presentation on her New Fabric Collection

Yoko Saito's Centenary 23 Schoolhouse Presentation

At Schoolhouse this fall, Yoko Saito introduced her fans to her gorgeous Centenary 23 fabric line, available in 2018. You can see all 61 fabrics in the collection on Lecien’s website. As she showed the fabrics, she gave wonderful tips about how she incorporates the various fabrics into quilts.



Yoko Saito’s Tips for Appliques

The Centenary 23 fabric line included several fabulous brown prints, suitable for trees. Saito-san recommended using the prints vertically for tree appliques, and horizontally for representing paths or streets.

Yoko Saito's Centenary 23 fabric- brown for bark









She was also insistent that quilters use more than one fabric for tree appliques, because no tree has just one color!









Several of her fabrics incorporated leaves and trees, and gave completely different effects when viewed up close or from a distance.

Yoko Saito Centenary 23 fabric- mottled leaves








Saito-san encouraged us to consider using both sides of the fabric, as sometimes the backside of the fabric provides the right amount of color and a softer design.

Using Fabric as a Design Element

Saito-san is renowned for her extremely detailed, intricate appliques and quilting, so I was delighted with her tip about selecting background fabrics. She said that using a subtly busy print for the background makes it look like you appliqued more than you really did.









The Centenary 23 collection includes a basket print in several color options. She created this print because she loves Nantucket baskets. She recommends using the basket weave print in sashings.









One of my favorite prints from the new collection is this stunning black and red print.  It’s such a contrast to most of her palette, but it works perfectly with the other fabrics.









The new collection also includes new Etoffe Improvue linens for clothing.  Here is Saito-san modeling one of the three new linen prints in her gorgeous tunic.









Saito-san hinted that one of her new quilting books will also include patterns for making clothing, and knitting! I’m starting to learn knitting NOW  so I’ll be ready by the time this book is available in English (a couple of years down the road!)

So, that’s it for my Schoolhouse recap! Next week I will be sharing photos from Saito-san’s exhibit at Market and Festival.

If you love Yoko Saito’s work, please check out these blog posts:

Yoko Saito’s Favorite Projects Schoolhouse Presentation

Yoko Saito Sightings

Starting a Yoko Saito Quilt

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Happy Stitching!!


Quilt Market 2017- Yoko Saito’s Schoolhouse Presentation on her Favorite Projects









If you’re on Instagram and Facebook, you already know that I was INCREDIBLY excited to attend Yoko Saito’s schoolhouse presentations this fall. For the next several weeks, I’ll be sharing photos and notes I took throughout the weekend, over her presentations, her exhibitions, and even getting to meet her personally.  It was an amazing experience.

So, first up, her presentation with Priscilla Knoble of Stitch publications about her favorite books and projects. Saito-san was an absolute DELIGHT to listen to, even if you couldn’t understand her words, her enthusiasm and excitement were evident throughout.

Saito-san publishes two books PER YEAR, each with 25-30 projects. She typically makes these projects in about 6 months, and ONLY uses her sewing machine for sewing the bases to her bags. Now that’s productive. She also teaches 400 students, and prepares special patterns just for them.

Yoko Saito’s Favorite projects

One of the first projects she showed was her hand-sewing kit.









The audience giggled when Priscilla pulled a clover needle threader out of it. When asked about her choice of needles, Saito-san said she uses Clover black needles to get her tiny stitches.









Next up, a darling turtle pincushion, from her wool work book.


Then she showed a tote bag she designed for carrying piano books, based on a sketch of Mozart that she drew while watching a show about him on television. The top section with the notes on it is a zippered pencil pouch.









She said one of the reasons she makes so many bags is that Japanese people don’t always have a lot of room to store lots of quilts in their home. But they use public transportation frequently, and enjoy having bags to take with them on the trains for their shopping.









The tote bag below is from a new book that she published with a publisher in Taiwan. Stitch publications will have an English version available next year. Quiltmania already has it in French, so of course I impulse bought a copy.  It lives up to expectations!!  I love the pop of red on this tote, which is also on the book cover.









The detail on this scallop tote is mind-blowing.









And last, but not least, here’s a project from her Japanese Taupe Theory book.









fun facts

We had a chance to ask questions at the end of the presentation.  Someone asked what Saito-san’s home studio looked like. She replied that she never worked on quilting or sewing projects at home, only at her store workshop. She said she can’t even think about designs if her husband is around. How cute is that!?

Finally, Saito-san also talked a little about her inspiration for the Scrap Valley book.  She said that she loves antique American designs, and wanted to incorporate them into some larger projects.

Saito-san’s journey into fabric design

Saito-san started designing fabric for Lecien about 20 years ago.  She was having trouble finding Japanese fabrics that gave the effects she wanted, so when Lecien approached her about designing, it was a win-win for both of them. Some of her designs are based on a 100-year old book of patterns from Lecien.

Next week, I’ll be posting about her second schoolhouse presentation. It focused on her upcoming line from Lecien, and included some tips for using fabric creatively to achieve realistic textures.

Happy Stitching!

(And if you’re new to my site, you can check out the Japanese Quilting Study group tab at the top of this page for lots more information about Yoko Saito and Japanese Quilting!